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If Momma Ain't Happy -- The Role of the Mother as the Emotional Anchor of the Home

There’s an old saying in the south: If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!  In my own family, I’ve found this saying to be too true!  The mother of a family sets the tone for the entire family and it’s up to her to bring balance and joy to the home. 

This can sound like quite a tall order to fill.  Sometimes, I’m feeling anything but joyful or balanced.  And yet, my children are there, all of the time, looking for that never-ending unconditional love.  They are naturally inclined to be simply joyful and when I’m out of synch with that our whole family seems to fall apart.

So how does a woman balance her need to be authentic (none of us are balanced and joyful all the time!) and her family’s needs to have their emotional anchor firm and steady?  This is, indeed, one of the great balancing acts of a woman’s life.  Below, you will find some tips to keep you centered and sane in those moments when you seem to be falling apart.  This is High Practice, a practice that may last a lifetime, so finding some tools now and keeping them sharpened will help you in all of the years to come.

  • Be authentic.  One of the great myths of parenting is that we have to keep a happy face on all the time.  I think we all know by now that stuffing our emotions only leads to emotional and physical disease.  The other reason that we don’t want to hide our feelings is this: our children learn more about life from how we live than by what we say.  Therefore, in order for our children to learn how to effectively cope with their feelings, they need to actually see us doing it!  Do not be afraid to be emotional in front of your children – as long as you are being authentic and you’re dealing with them in appropriate ways.
  • Be honest.  Sometimes, the easiest way to restore balance to the home is to simply say, “Honey, I’m feeling a little off kilter and I need…”  What do you need and how can you ask to have your needs met?  This is a skill that many, many women struggle with.  Figure out what you need, then have the courage to make a direct request.  Getting your emotional needs met sometimes looks like having the physical space to be alone for an hour.  This is especially true for those of us who find that we can’t even go to the bathroom alone anymore!  Sometimes, you may need a little love and appreciation.  Or perhaps there’s an issue going on underneath the surface that you need to deal with.  Get honest and be courageous enough to put yourself first.
  • Self care is critical.  Why is it that care of self is the first thing to go out the door when we get busy?  We’ve all heard the old saying that you have to fill your pitcher before you can fill everyone else’s cup.  Remember, self care is never selfish when it is in balance with the rest of your life.  Girlfriend time has been proven to be critical to emotional and physical health.  Feeding your soul with whatever creative endeavor you enjoy keeps you centered and happy.  Taking the time to pray or meditate for even ten quiet minutes will fill your entire being with peaceful joy.  Take care of your body with exercise, healthy food, a little chocolate and an occasional massage or pedicure.  You deserve it!
  • Don’t let worry rob you of today’s joy!  So often, I see parents unconsciously make worry and fear more important than their children.  How?  Any time that you are in that space of worry, you are not present for your kids.  Instead, you’re working to bring future pain into your present moment.  That’s all that worry is!  Focusing on a problem or a fear about the future only gives energy to that problem.  Instead, give positive, loving energy to the present moment and really be there with your children.  Cut yourself loose from the chains of worry and give yourself permission to fully live today.  There is no greater gift you can give yourself or your family!

by: Shelly Walker



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